"The world does not reward honesty and independence, it rewards obedience and service. It’s a world of concentrated power, and those who have power are not going to reward people who question that power."-Chomsky

"The trouble with self-delusion, either in a person or a society, is that reality doesn't care what anybody believes, or what story they put out. Reality doesn't "spin." Reality does not have a self-image problem. Reality does not yield its workings to self-esteem management." -J.H. Kunstler

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."-Dylan

Sunday, June 21, 2009

6/21/09: Father's Day Surprise

It didn't take long to figure out what was going on behind the scenes while I lingered in this apparent state of limbo. Shelly and I had a candid talk on the way back to Michigan about my willingness to hang around and make myself available if there was some sort of solid, specific meeting set up. I was pretty clear however that, after 3-weeks, it was time to move forward and that I was mentally moving on. I was quite content with the effort she and I had put forth, and if nothing came out of it I could tell my kids I did everything I could when they asked about their grandfather.

Then, on Father's Day I received an excited call from Shelly saying that she had had a chat with our father, and that he had agreed to get together with the two of us. They had already set up the day, time, location. No more asking, speculating, or wondering. It was done. She had apparently called him to wish him a happy Father's Day and decided to try one last time. If I recall correctly, she explained that I was here backpacking, leaving relatively soon, had met Lynn's kids, and was going to make my way toward their house in Boise next to meet her. This fact appeared to pique his interest, and may have made him realize that I have been swimming awfully close to his feet, so to speak. It may have also made him understand just how much had gone on, presumably without his knowledge. I can't say for sure. All I can say is that Shelly's hard work had finally paid off...if he didn't cancel!

When I told my mother about this, and again tried to explain my attitude toward it (with limited success this time), she also pointed out that in all likelihood he has no idea of the effort I've put in due to the prevailing silence that runs thru the non-Shelly/Lynn part of the family. Another factor may have been Skip. Kelle had told me the week before that he and my dad had sat down and had lunch just a day or two prior. This was the first conversation they had had in something like five years, despite living in close proximity. Perhaps he's beginning to realize some things himself? Again, I don't know.

The overall feel of this meeting is much different than in 2000. If you tuned in late, that 20-minute conversation is the only contact we've ever had. At that time I was understandably nervous, and hoping to make a good impression. I thought the meeting went well, and at times could even be described as "warm" yet, ever since, there's been nothing. This time nerves are not a factor. It's almost as it was meeting Shelly a month ago: "It's about time." Rather than being preoccupied by impressions, the tables are turned. I hold no expectations beyond dinner, and consider it to be up to him to show that there's hope for a relationship that means anything. For once, I hope my cynicism is misplaced! Yet, I can't help but wonder if he's simply pacifying us to make Shelly's questions go away.

That being said, this is a big step for him and shows something. He could have easily continued to ignore the overtures and gotten off the hook one final time. The idea that he chose not to do that says a lot in and of itself, and I'm sure was not an easy thing to do. He has a great opportunity to lead and serve as an example to his kids and grand kids... almost all of which know the truth anyhow. We'll see how it goes.